Erick Erickson gets it. He and his co-author know full well what is going on. They are fully aware of the fact – as the subtitle puts it – that there is a “war on faith, family and your freedom to believe.” There sure is, and it is getting worse by the day.
All over the West we see shocking examples of this assault on faith, on family, and on freedom. Anyone at all familiar with the culture wars will know all about this, and plenty of familiar cases are highlighted in this book, be it that of Barronelle Stutzman, Jack Phillips, Aaron and Melissa Klein, or a host of others.
All this amounts to “a war on our freedom to believe”. Not only do the activists on the Left want to be allowed to do their thing, they want everyone to endorse and celebrate their thing. And if you dare to differ, you will be made to care.
And much of this comes from the militant homosexual agenda, as well as other manifestations of sexual radicalism. Says Erickson:
Progressives are rabidly committed to expanding the freedom to express oneself sexually without consequences and without criticism. In fact, their right to feel good about their sexual expression trumps your right to express your beliefs about it. You are required to approve and even help them celebrate — or you can lose your job, your business, your chosen career, your home, and even your dog. The sexual revolution ideology of the 1960s means that personal feelings outweigh the transhistorical truths that have fostered the flourishing of all humanity.
And this sweep of the secular left sexual wrecking ball is as fast as it is furious. It shows no signs of slowing down: “There’s a sense that we are no longer slouching toward Gomorrah, as Robert Bork famously put it, but rushing headlong toward inevitable decline.”
There can be no neutrality here, since the Left will allow no fence-sitting. And the stakes are high: “Apart from a vigorous defense of our first freedom—our freedom to believe—all other freedoms fail. And that’s why the Left, a relatively small group in society wishing to shift culture outside of millennia of accepted norms, seeks not only to silence those who disagree but also to compel them to approve.”
At bottom this a spiritual issue. The words of Jesus about being either for or against him are quoted, along with this: “It is the nature of those who love darkness to despise the light. It is the nature of unrighteousness to suppress the truth. It is the nature of evil to seek to destroy all that is right and good in the world.”
This explains so much of the persistence, ferocity and ugliness of this war on our faith and values. The other side does not just want acceptance, it wants endorsement of what it does. And it will never relax until all opponents are made to care. Mere acquiescence is not enough.
As Archbishop Charles Chaput has stated: “Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been.”
Forcing believers to embrace the radical agendas, and even change their views about them, has always been the work of tyrannies. We are reminded that the German government in the 1930s put huge pressure on churches and pastors to not say anything against their “blood and race” agenda. As a result, how many German Christians ended up supporting this monstrous regime?
And we see the same thing happening today. Many churches and church leaders are capitulating instead of resisting. They are cowards who do not want to be punished for holding contrary beliefs, so they just cave in to the spirit of the age. The surrender of so many churches to the radical homosexual and transgender agendas is simply one ugly example of this.
The Left is winning in this regard. They want our “faith in a box”. Keep it a fully privatised affair, restricted to an hour on Sunday, but with no bearing or impact on the rest of life. But real Christianity can never be so restricted: “Throughout the history of the world, Christians have consistently spoken up in the face of evil when all others choose to be silent. They do so because their faith demands it.”
Indeed, the early Christians “stood in humble defiance against Rome, the most powerful government in the world, because they owed their allegiance to the One who is Truth, not those who believed truth could be redefined to fit their own needs and to advance a secular gospel.”
His quote from Orthodox priest Father Lawrence Farley is well worth offering here:
In every age, there are Christians who compromise with the standards of their age, and accept the world’s values as their own. These people always call themselves “Christians” and denounce those who disagree with them as rigid and wrong. But the Christ whom they preach is not the real Christ. They in fact misrepresent Him, and preach a Christ made up by themselves, one who conforms more closely to their own secular age. St. Paul, St. John, and St. Athanasius pulled the mask off them in their day, and denied them the label of “Christian”. It is time that we Orthodox follow in their footsteps now and do the same to those who offer a counterfeit faith and another Jesus.
Yes the actions and ideologies of the secular Left are bad enough, but when we get fake church leaders running with their agendas, we are in a very bad way indeed. But this book is not just about all the bad news out there. It is also a call to action. We can fight back, and we can regain lost territory.
We need a resurgence, he says. We need resurgent citizens, families, communities, believers, and churches. As to the last one, he offers various practical tips on how to proceed, such as:
-preach the gospel
-unite grace and truth
-define love biblically
-deal with sin
-give our children answers
-speak out on cultural issues
He reminds us that simply trying to be “nice” will not cut it: “No matter how nice you appear, no matter how tolerant you sound, darkness hates the light. As you seek to live out the truth in love, evil will not surrender gracefully.”
He quotes Kevin DeYoung: “There’s a whole bunch of people who still hold to a biblical view of sexuality, but they figure that if we just lay down our arms, this cultural war will go away. They are right that it may, but the terms are unconditional surrender. This [conflict] is not one that Christians can just get out of by out-nicing people.”
Much more can be said about this important volume, but I think you get the drift. We are in a war, and no one has the luxury of sitting on the fence during such times. Say the authors, “Although Jesus Christ conquered hell nearly two thousand years ago, overcoming tyranny is still a work in progress. And it is our privilege to take part in the struggle. Such times can produce a new generation of heroes because they offer an opportunity for clarity, authentic community, and courageous leadership.”
Now is the time to take a stand and make a difference. One way to help you in this is by what is found in this book. Buy it, read it, and share it with a friend.